Trump border wall request will set up new budget fight, adviser says

11 March, 2019, 00:24 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • As budget deficit balloons few in Washington seem to care

Larry Kudlow, a top White House economic adviser, said President Trump's "tough" 2020 budget blueprint, due out Monday, could trigger a new fight over the his desired U.S. -Mexico border wall. Other observers have predicted lower growth.

Democrats, who oppose the wall as unnecessary and immoral, control the U.S. House of Representatives, making it unlikely the Republican president's request will win congressional passage.

Trump led a government shutdown in December that lasted for 35 days because Congress would not appropriate $5.7 billion to build sections of the wall.

The administration recently outlined roughly $8.1 billion in other immediate funding for the wall, which includes almost $1.4 billion in a recent spending bill, as well as $600 million from asset forfeitures, $2.5 billion from Defense Department counter-narcotics funds, and $3.6 billion from military construction money.

In a new spin on what has become a consistent ploy, the USA president will again seek to gain congressional approval for his favorite 2016 campaign promise: the construction of an impassable wall to separate the border between the United States and Mexico, according to multiple reports. "Finish the wall" is already a feature of his re-election campaign, a rallying cry plastered across banners and signs at his campaign rallies.

The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss budget details before Monday's release of the plan and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Funding legislation needs to be passed before 1 October or the government could shut down again.

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"We have provided the course of action, the strategy and the request to finish the job".

"At a time when our country faces challenges about jobs for the future, this money would better be spent on rebuilding America, and on education and workforce development for jobs for the 21st Century", they said. The budget plan also sets aside $3.6 million in military construction funding as payback for any projects delayed by creation of the wall.

One senior administration official told The Washington Post the $8.6 billion in the budget request, combined with the funds Trump wants to redirect with through his national emergency declaration, would allow the White House to complete at least 722 miles of new barriers, which has been Trump's goal. However, following major gridlock between Republican and Democratic lawmakers, Congress allocated only $1.375 billion to finance 55 miles of barrier in Texas.

Trump will propose an overall 5% increase to the Department of Homeland Security budget, including $3.3bn, or 22% more, for CBP, and $1.2bn more for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a 16% hike, officials said.

The House voted February 26 to terminate Trump's declaration of a national emergency and the US Senate is expected to follow suit this week.

The Trump administration is headed for a budget clash with Congress, with calls for deep domestic spending cuts that lawmakers are likely to ignore as the nation's debt reaches record levels.

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